Expiationism is often described (or derided) as being a philosophical/religious belief rather than a theory. This idea was first articulated by neo-Jain nearbaseline human philosophers on Diwali. The central concepts are that transapients are to sapient beings as sapient beings are to sentient life, and that on that sapient beings owe a moral, karmic, or historical debt that must be paid. Just as for thousands of years baseline humans ate, tortured, crushed, destroyed, imprisoned, enslaved, mutilated, or even merely manipulated animals, they may expect to receive the same at the hands of higher entities. Suffering at the hands of a being of higher toposophic level transfers the debt upwards; acts of kindness towards beings of lower toposophic level dissipate the debt in part. Merely sentient beings are believed to be innocent victims, regardless of their own actions, but sapient and transapient beings are agents for true change, either for better or worse. In standard Expiationist philosophy, transfers of karmic debt may be expected to continue until the cosmic balance is redressed. Unfortunately, as believers explain it, the amount owed is considerable, and human and the other Terragen clades outside the civilized regions continue to accrue more debt. A fusion of this idea with Omegist beliefs leads to the prediction that at some point in the future the debt accrued by sapient beings, and the debts accrued in their turn by the higher toposophic beings will one day be dissipated, and the entire Terragen civilization, from the least sentient being to the greatest Archailect will Ascend.

Expiationism is found as an element in a number of philosophies, and has had its outgrowth in a number of religions, particularly in Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Hinduism, and their descendants. A kalyptic heterodox post-Christian sect known as the Penitents was particularly prominent in the middle years of the 7th millennium, to the extent that some members offered themselves as sacrifices to the most cruel transapient entities that they could discover. This movement has since been greatly reduced by attrition, and persists only in highly modified, less militant forms.

With the exception of some small but active groups such as the Francisclarans, formal Expiationist views are rather rare today in most major polities. However, Expiationist memes are a common, often subconscious, element in modosophont thought. Critics of its overt form often point to an implicit humanocentric bias, and it is notable that vecs or ais are much less likely to express Expiationist thoughts than are bionts, whereas the plebhu masses are especially vulnerable to this meme. Nevertheless, bot rights groups in vec society have used some elements of the Expiationist meme in their campaigns against bot abuse.

Reaction to the Expiationist meme by transapient entities has been mixed. The Solar Dominion specifically condemns such views. The Judges of the Negentropic Alliance have sometimes made rulings favourable to the spread of Expiationist memes, but more often have discouraged them. Emple-dokcetics claim that under their system the question is moot, and encourage Expiationists to join them in lieu of any sacrificial action. The Sophic League recognizes Expiationism as a valid metameme that crosses several religions, and Sophics neither promote nor discourage its spread. This meme is widely supported by transapients in the Utopia Sphere. The majority of transapient entities, however, have either declared Expiationism to be irrelevant or have chosen not to comment at all on the phenomenon.
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Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 26 August 2004.